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Friday, January 31, 2014

An Exclusive Club: Selling Luxury

It was Lamborghini Day at Inform Interiors as our showroom was selected as the exclusive Canadian presentation site for the the Huracán; the latest model from Lamborghini, and the replacement for the hugely successful Gallardo.  I was invited to attend one of the presentations, and as I'm relatively new to the luxury sales experience I thought it was a great opportunity to see how the legendary automaker handled it.

The simple answer appears to be to make you feel fortunate to be involved with the product.  Today's Lamborghini viewing was by invitation only.  The entrance to the garage was decorated with lights, and the garage itself was set up as a waiting room (furnished by Inform Interiors of course).  Guests had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, and cell phones (confiscated to prevent photography) were securely stored in miniature lockers.  Once inside guests waited in the lounge area and were offered lattés and biscotti (branded with the Lamborghini logo).  Every detail had been carefully thought out to make the experience feel exclusive.

After the presentation I spoke with one of the local Lamborghini sales staff about how they converted the participants at events like this to serious leads.  He explained that being permitted to test drive one of their vehicles had a cost to it.  Not just anyone can have the experience; a Lamborghini test drive meant you were part of an exclusive club.  It seems that many want to be a part of this club too; I overheard two guests discussing a financial commitment to drive the Huricán, and to be the first in Canada to do so.

The Gallardo also made an appearance.
There is also an inherent exclusivity achieved by price.  That's not to say that a Lamborghini isn't an expensive car to make.  Simply based on my limited experience today I can tell you the fit and finish of this vehicle is beyond compare, and that has a cost.  But if the price of an item is taken to the next level, that adds to the prestige of the item.

So how much does this luxury cost?  Well the reported price tag for the Huracán is about $315,000 CDN.  Judging by the attendance of the presentations over the past two days there's no shortage of interest.  In fact, Vancouver is the 8th best market in North America for Lamborghini.  Now if some of them are looking for a new kitchen ...







Tuesday, January 14, 2014

KBIS 2014 - Looking Back to Look Ahead

As mentioned in my last post, I will once again be attending KBIS.  The annual showcase for the kitchen and bath industry will be held in Las Vegas from February 4-6, and for the first time will be held in conjunction with the International Builders Show, the annual showcase for the National Home Builders’ Association.  To say there will be a lot to cover in 3 days is quite the understatement … which is one of the reasons I’m taking 5 days to cover it (pre-show meetings, etc.)

In preparation for this year’s KBIS I have been sorting through notes and bookmarks 
from the past year to see what I should be following up with.  Amy Albert’s article from Builder.com was fortunately bookmarked.  In it she discusses the top kitchen trends seen at last year’s show.  So what I thought I’d do is note them here, and then after the show in February I’ll see if these trends still hold true, or if they’ve been replaced by something else.

1) The kitchen remains the focus of most homes, custom or spec. Having a solid design from the start allows custom details to be planned for, and substantially more affordable.

2) Spend less on cabinet faces and focus more of the budget towards high quality interior fittings and accessories.  Some of the new laminates available paired with laser-welded edge technology makes this increasingly easy to do.

3) Outdoor kitchens are still front and centre … but so is including outdoor space as part of the overall plan.  Open those patio doors and let the kitchen party spill outside!

Source
4) If space permits, let your inner Downton Abbey loose and consider a butler’s pantry that can function as a prep space and staging area.

5) Layered lighting.  Ambient, task and architectural.  Some things should never change.

6) The appliance category continues to grow. Warming drawers, coffee machines and steam ovens are being joined by the wine caddy and more induction cooktops than I can count.  What will 2014 bring?  Hint:  WINE.

7) Sleek and modern.  Considering my recent job change I’m certainly agreeing with this!

8) Banquettes are back (did they ever really leave?)

I know some of these are old news, but quite a few (3,5 & 6 to be specific) are still very strong.  What trends do you see for 2014?  Which ones are "pining for the fjords" and need to retire?

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